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THE FIRST PRINCESS OF WALES
KAREN HARPER
ISBN (10) 0-307-23791-5 & (13) 978-0-307-23791-0
December 26, 2006
Three Rivers Press, Random House, Inc.
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
Trade Paperback
$14.95
618 Pages
Historical Fiction
Rating: 5 cups

Joan, fair maid of Kent grows up under the shadow of her disgraced father who is named a traitor. King Edward, his own nephew, does nothing to stop the execution. Virtually neglected by her mother, Joan is sent to court at the tender age of sixteen. Soon she becomes a fast friend and close companion to Princess Isabella, her distant cousin.

Edward, the dashing Prince of Wales, knows at once he desires Joan. He can have any maid in the kingdom, but desires Joan most of all. Of course, royalty must marry for the good of the Empire, therefore Prince Edward’s royal parents make impossible that which he most wants.

When Joan discovers from her dying mother the truth of who bears the blame for her father’s death, she vows to bring down the royal Plantagenets, no matter what the cost. Soon she finds herself and the one she loves are pawns in the royal game of deceit. Forced to marry a man she does not love and unofficially exiled to France, she is committed to living the life of a wife and mother, as is expected, but never forgets those who unjustly dishonored her father. Meanwhile, Edward distinguishes himself as a war hero in the war against France and never agrees to marry. Although Joan and Edward suffer with years between encounters with one another, they remain passionately in love.

The First Princess of Wales, set among the backdrop of gilded courtly love and medieval chivalry is absolutely marvelous. The reader is effortlessly swept from the royal court in London to peasant revolts in the French countryside to epic battles of brave knights. One can feel the lush and exuberant excesses of the royal court draped over the words as a heavy velvet cloak on a richly adorned courtier. Beautifully told, its passionate characters are brought to life with poignant and engaging dialogue. Ms. Harper has remarkably captured the essence of courtly drama with this intriguing tale of star-crossed lovers. Based on a true story which took place over six hundred years ago, this book carries themes which are valuable even now – that of hope and undying love. It is truly an enticing and gripping tale of sweet seduction intelligently told in brilliant historical style which can be read over and over.

Bonnie-Lass
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
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